€350m new hospital proposed
A €350m new Cork hospital is being proposed as the answer to Ireland's chronic shortage of acute hospital beds.
Ireland has not commissioned a major new acute hospital for 19 years and Health Minister Simon Harris admitted that is something the Government and Department of Health must urgently review.
Mr Harris also confirmed that, for the first time, Ireland is to undertake a strategic long-term health study to determine future hospital bed needs, funding models and staffing targets.
Cork is now to campaign for a new €350m hospital to fulfil a strategic development plan unveiled more than 50 years ago.
Campaigners warned that pressure on Cork University Hospital (CUH), the emergency referral hospital for the entire south, is now at acute levels.
Cork has also seen six hospitals either closed or downgraded since 1970. Two proposals are now under consideration - a massive upgrade of the Mercy University Hospital's existing facilities or a new greenfield development of MUH.
The upgrade proposal will involve an increase in bed capacity by 45pc from 332 to 484. An alternative plan is to abandon its historic city centre base for a new greenfield site.